When deciding where and when to build the new Ayia Napa-Paralimni golf course, the primary concern should be the Public Interest for the benefit of the area and economy, while the classification of an area as Natura does not prohibit development.
I reiterate the European Court of Justice ruling in Hungary on a lawsuit against constructing a factory in a Natura site that indicated that “the priority is the wellbeing of the inhabitants”.
So, how do we reconcile the positions of the Committee on the Environment and the Auditor General on the one hand and the Public Interest of the inhabitants and the area’s economy?
Between the two positions, I believe that the economy should prevail, taking into account the protection of as much as possible the environment and not the outright cancellation of this project.
Therefore, the public interest and the “wellbeing” of the area’s inhabitants, especially the economy, is the primary goal so that we do not suffer from the lack of water.
This was the case in Paphos caused by legal procedures, the abolition of the then-existing desalination plant and the construction of a new station (and the payment of compensation to foreign investors), as a result of which the whole of Cyprus suffered for quite some time and especially consumers and farmers in Paphos.
We have observed the opinion of the Department of Forests and that of the Auditor General.
After studying them, there is a clear finding that the Department of Forests has a rather global view, bearing in mind the needs (economic and other) of the area, while that of the Auditor General is known not only for the strict application of this legislation but also expanded to another view, implying corruption (a popular word) and other arguments.
For us, the view is clear.
The region has a problem of seasonality and should be helped financially, even if, in the meantime, various entrepreneurs will benefit because the objective is more general and long-term.
The affected area is designated as forest land, but is it a forest?
Visitors will observe several low-height pines (aorati), eucalyptus, and acacias, in a sparse and undeveloped “forest”.
The promoting entrepreneurs, in addition to their contribution of €5.0 mln, which could be used for additional and extensive tree planting, have plans to plant additional areas and upgrade the environment.
The European interpretation of a forest has nothing to do with the forest in the area.
The Auditor General’s main disagreement is that no tenders were sought to rent part of the forest land.
If this is such a serious problem, the government could ask the Land Registry and/or two private valuers for the possible rent and thus overcome the issue in 2-3 months.
I am surprised by the lack of reaction from both the local business chamber (EVEL) and that of hoteliers and even trade unions and local municipalities that fall in the category of direct beneficiaries.
If the position of the Auditor General or similar prevails, then neither a marina nor any other infrastructure projects would be built in the area.
It seems that each of us, ignoring the public benefit and expecting improvement, prefers to follow the development remotely, sitting on our couch and complaining after the event.
Antonis Loizou F. R. I. C. S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers